Are you training to look good or be good?
So it’s nearly March and you are still working towards that dream body. But are you training to look good or be good?
Training aims can be broken down into two main categories. Either you are working out because you want to look good or because you want to increase performance. Knowing your main motivation makes planning your sessions in the gym much easier.
If you are looking to get stronger, to say improve your performance in a sport, then doing large amounts of HIIT training is going to be counterproductive to the end result. This is also vitally important when considering your nutrition. If you are training to put on muscle mass then you need to be in a calorie surplus (eating more calories then you burn off). This will lead to a period of time where you are gaining weight and potentially not seeing a complete set of abs. Despite what Instagram might tell you it is impossible to gain muscle mass whilst maintaining 6% body fat.
If you are simply training to look a certain way then your training will take on a whole new dimension. Food will need to merely be the food source to get you through your workouts and cardio will become a tool used to burn off excess body fat.
The perfect example of this is ex team GB hurdler Andy Turner. I have been wanting to write this newsletter for a while based on my own experiences but felt that this article summed up a lot of what I wanted to say. For me as a professional ballet dancer, much like Andy as an athlete, all I was concerned with was my performance. Of course when you are exercising for 8 hours a day 6 days a week you are going to be in pretty good shape. However, that does not necessarily mean that you will look like a magazine cover model. To reach that kind of physique you need to train and eat in a very particular way that will lead eventually to a drop in performance.
So how does this relate to me???
I think the big takeaway point from here is to really establish what results you want from your training. If your sole concern is how good you are going to look on the beach in the summer then you need to be looking more towards a body transformation. The main focus of your training will be about burning body fat and maintaining muscle mass. Weight sessions will revolve around volume and cardio will revolve around longer sessions but lower intensity.
If your main concern is performance then your focus needs to be around what you want to perform better in. If you just want to be stronger, because who doesn’t want to just pick up heavy things, then you need to be focusing on low reps of heavy compound lifts. If its for a sport or pastime then you need to aim your training towards increasing your performance in the skills needed for that. If you play Sunday league football you need to work on your agility and stop turn speed to increase your performance and to prevent muscular injuries.
If you are still confused then why don’t you drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss it further. Even better, if you are in the area then pop in for a coffee and we can set up some realistic goals for you to work towards.